The International Dance Organisation (IDO) is a federation with a membership of over 90 nations, representing more than 250,000 dancers from six continents. The IDO grants the rights to conduct world and continental championship events and cups in its dance disciplines. IDO Nigeria would therefore serve as a meeting point where different major dance groups all around the nation would come together to form a federation of dancers that would represent Nigeria in world dance competitions. The dance coalition would however need an independent body to supervise its activities, which would not be the government. That is where SPAN comes in. SPAN provides the platform for attaining this and also helps support the system because SPAN has a burden to empower Nigerians in the performing art. So SPAN would serve as a steward to drive the force of the organisation and its structure to attaining this purpose.
It was to this end therefore that the IDO Nigeria was inaugurated at the Eko Hotel and Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos, last weekend. Speaking at the epoch making event, the founder and chairperson, Society for the Performing Arts in Nigeria, Mrs. Sarah Boulos said the launch was a historic event.
“We all were disappointed by the performance of the Nigerian team at the world football competition and especially when it was as if the federal government was going to ban the team from appearing in any international competition for some time. At this point in my heart I am sure there is always hope for our nation, and today we are making history by allowing Nigeria to become part of the International Dance Organization world and we are going to be forming today, IDO Nigeria and the Society for the Performing Arts in Nigeria would be the vessel.
Boulos who had set up SPAN, a non-governmental and not for profit foundation since 2005 with the purpose to build a performing arts center, where artistes of all areas of the performing arts come together and create a dialogue with the arts and present them well for families and audience to see, said the importance of Nigeria’s membership of IDO International cannot be overemphasized.
The part-Lebanese, half-French woman who has lived in Nigeria for over a decade said: “With Nigeria being a member of the International Dance Organization, we are not only having an open door to the Olympics but we are also having open doors to represent Nigeria in the International Dance Sport Federation”. Speaking further she said there were basically three major world dance organizations all over the world: the Dance Council for Amateurs; the International Dance Organisation and the International Dance Sport Federation which organizes international competitions for professionals
“Today with the presence of the Commission Member for Africa and the Middle East at the International Dance Organization, Mr. Pierre Dib, we are opening a new chapter for Nigeria. We would be developing, with the help of other committees and judges, a national dance competition as a form of a federation, run not by the government but by the people.”
By the time SPAN develops a national dance competition, over 30 dance teams would be selected in the course of the next two years to represent Nigeria in the world dance championship. They would be competing with over 80 countries and they would be able to preserve the richness of Nigeria’s culture.
“I am so excited because sometimes, we realise in order for us to fix with the world, we have to dance like the world but we are such a country that has so many diverse dance styles and so much creativity to develop. And now our traditional cultural dance can be presented to the world, which has not been so until now”, the dance instructor and choreographer said.
SPAN is training people in the different dance style through the international dance organisation, which includes Salsa, hip-hop and many other dance genres. And with the young minds in SPAN, they would be the driving force behind a new hope for people with a desire to dance and become professionals.
Judges for the newly inaugurated IDO, Nigeria dance competition include, director, Dance and Art Alice and director, Salsa in Nigeria, Mr. Buddy Agedah; the founder of Ijo Dee Dance Centre, Adedayo Liadi, an icon in the dance industry who is also representing the Dance Guild of Nigeria. There is also Mr. Pierre Dib who also has his company in Lebanon and serves under the International Dance Federation and also a representative delegate for Africa, Lebanon and the Arab Emirate. Dib is in charge of setting up IDO offices in other African countries. Nnamdi Nweke another judge has been appointed as the President, Dance Committee, IDO Nigeria. Nweke is responsible for developing all the dance committees in the country to ensure they work with SPAN to develop the dance industry. Olufunmi Olajoyegbe, Executive Director, GIG Ventures Limited is also one of the judges for the newly inaugurated IDO Nigeria dance competition.
“I am just a vessel that would help in driving the industry to get to where it is supposed to be. But Nigerians would run IDO Nigeria while I would be like a counselor and adviser and the link between IDO Nigeria and IDO worldwide.
The IDO competitions, Boulos said is open to people of all age. In other words, there is no age barrier, and so “if you are somewhere and you think you are too old for this, that is a lie.
“In the last four years, three major dance competitions have been staged. But today we are inaugurating the international dance championship. We are also in partnership with other dance companies, which can also make a lucrative business out of this and be able to portray the message of God through dance. So there are many areas yet to be explored with other dance organisations, of which is the Spirit of David dance group”, she noted.
SPAN has over 50 dancers at the professional level and about six of them have major dance companies and have been responsible for most of the reality TV dance shows today. They include Corporate Dance World, Spirit of David and Dance & Art Alice and Salsa in Nigeria. The Ijo Dee Dance Centre is a supporting group.
“A lot of people who have come to SPAN have been able to establish their own company and develop the industry because we are transforming the nation by the use of the dance of profession”.
During the inauguration ceremony, graduation certificates were also presented to SPAN members who have passed their examinations. “It is so interesting because we are really impressed by the amount of work they have put in. So today we are graduating 18 out of 21”, the SPAN boss said. There was also a presentation of mock Salsa dance competition by dancers from different dance companies.
The testimonies from persons with affiliations to the group was understandably superlative: For Liadi of Ijo Dee Dance Centre: “Talking about the world stage, that is where SPAN comes in. SPAN so far is the only organization based on what it is offering to the Nigerian community. The training that SPAN offers brings the dancers to the standard that the world expect any dancer in any genre of dance to attain. So the trainings that any dancer goes trough here prepares him for the world. Most of us in Nigeria are not exposed to the outside world but SPAN offers a training that prepares you not just for Nigeria as a dancer but to the world. And being in IDO competition will hopefully get the dancer ready for anything n any platform in any where in the world”.
The Director, Salsa in Nigeria, Agedah also had his own testimony: “I am a direct beneficiary and by God’s grace, I am a good example of the success of SPAN. My success is because of the knowledge I got and with the knowledge that I have, I have affected a lot of people’s lives through my dance company, Salsa in Nigeria through my membership in SPAN”.
Agedah explained: “Before we show our talent as a country to the world, we need a platform on which that would be done and IDO as a body has created that platform. It is only when we go out there, participate and win, that we can now show the world what we have. So if that platform is not created, no matter what we know, we cannot take ourselves out there.”